dirty martini

old music for new people

soul power couples: the classics October 23, 2007

lovebirds.jpg

duets don’t always work. i think simon cowell is about to find this out to his detriment – ‘same difference’ the icky brother and sister act on this year’s x factor are not going to resonate with a nation that just finds these things a bit, well…creepy.  what was that simon? you think they’ll capture the ‘high school musical’ market? make that ‘flowers in the attic’.

not as creepy as ‘two to go’ though, from x factor 2004. i haven’t got over that yet. psychopathic nursing home worker tries to carve career from exploitation of blind gareth gates-alike brother. ewwww.

if you bring together two equally talented, non-related singers however, the results can be spectacular. witness.

download here

bill medley and jennifer warnes – the time of my life

dirty dancing, like grease before it, will outlive us all. the soundtrack, and this song in particular, made the film the success it was. and made enough cash to get jennifer grey that ill-advised nose job…hope that ‘friends’ cameo paid well.

carla thomas and otis redding – tramp

much sampled classic – many female singers in the 60s paled in comparison to the commerical power of the supremes and undeniable talent of aretha. and otis is just otis and he died too young.

cherrelle and alexander o’neal – never knew love like this

whitney’s partner-in-crack cherrelle was once a respectable soul singer albeit only really famous for her collaborations with alex. who is slightly ‘eccentric’ himself as i recall from his bizarre participation in ‘just the two of us’ in which he duetted with a dumpy newsreader for the entertainment of the british public. someone really needs to stop the bbc making musical reality shows.

diana ross and lionel richie – endless love

i never got the whole diana ross thing. she is not a great singer. that dreamgirls storyline must have hit her where it hurts. i always wanted to see this film based on the song though.

janet jackson and luther vandross – best things in life are free

i may have forgotten the plot of the film ‘mo money’ to which this was the lead soundtrack, but i can remember this being played on a loop in the summer of 1992 at a very out of control house party.

judy clay and william bell – private number

another 60s duo who found themselves overshadowed. these two were on stax, not motown. which was way cooler.

mary j blige and kci hailey – i don’t want to do anything

mary’s problems didn’t start with her relationship with kci, but they did seem to begin to resolve themselves once she extricated herself. as ever, trying times can equal good music. people who say they wish mary would get messed up again so she can produce better music are wrong though.

roberta flack and donny hathaway – the closer i get to you

a whole album to choose from but the simplicity of this song is what makes it so special. that and donny hathaway, who could sing the bus timetable and stop me being pissed off that there’s only a bus ‘every 15-19 minutes’.

sheena easton and prince – u got the look

prince clearly saw a niche for scottish reality tv stars. especially those shorter than him – he doesn’t collaborate with just anyone. oh wait, he sort of does. carmen electra anyone?

the sos band and alexander o’neal – the finest

not sure how this came about? an early bootleg? i don’t remember him being on the original. he probably doesn’t either…cough…is he still wandering up and down kilburn high road looking confused?

syreeta and billy preston – with you i’m born again

this song is one of my earliest memories. it has that classic late 70s combination of plaintive harmonies,  and smooth vocals.

tammi terrell and marvin gaye – you’re all i need to get by

marvin and tammi were a much better match talentwise than marvin and insipid diana ross.

Advertisements
 

90s r&b – i collaborate therefore i am August 22, 2007

citrus1.jpg

there’s power in numbers. in fact, the perfect hook-up with the hottest property can launch (or relaunch) a lacklustre career.

in the mid 90s, duets and artist collaborations became less of an event. naturally, you would collaborate with labelmates, but a strategic feature spot could mean opening up your music to a whole new audience. the most popular hook up was r&b and hiphop, but some puff daddy collabos in the late 90s saw hiphop push the boundaries by mixing it up with rock bands, a trend jay-z has carried into the 00s.

so, for the r&b girls and boys looking forsome instant street, the most ubiquitous featured rappers of the 90s? jay-z, ll cool j and biggie by a mile, although a young foxy brown gave them a run for their money.

and if a hiphop act wanted to smooth things down? total, swv and mary j blige at your service.

the idea hasn’t slowed down at all, in fact, the standard r&b album has at least four collaborations and some albums (timbaland) are built entirely around that principle.

90s hook ups – download here

blackstreet and swv – can’t get you out of my mind

two of the biggest r&b bands of the 90s – worked so well they did it twice.

blaque and destiny’s child – she ain’t got that boom

how much hair can you fit in one room? one more member and they could have been an 80s jheri curl soul act. a subdued performance from beyonce on this one.

busta rhymes and zhane – its a party

not the most obvious hook-up to spring to mind but it worked.

jay-z and foxy brown – sunshine

jay-z and foxy collaborated so often you gave up trying to work out who was guesting for who.

junior mafia and aaliyah – i need you tonight

a mishmash of r&b, hiphop and 80s throwback hook and sample. shouldn’t have worked quite so well.

keith sweat and kut klose – get up on it

inevitable feature spot. on occasion the whole r&b don with cooing girl group could seem a little mysogynistic. there were worse examples though.

ll cool j and boyz ii men – hey lover

ll likes it both ways – guest features and inviting others on to his tunes, I mean.

mase and total – what you want

individually, not great. together it worked.

method man and mary j blige – you’re all i need to get by

one of the originals and a good example of how an r&b feature spot doesn’t need to water down the proceedings.

smooth and 2pac – p.y.t.

proto jay-z and foxy. 2pac must have rated young ms stokes as he didn’t guest spot with just anyone.